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Dryden, Miles Ernest -Surgeon Lieutenant Commander RN, Royal Naval Port Detachment Murmansk.

Born on 22nd February 1900 in Hong Kong.

Son of a member of the British Diplomatic Corps, Dryden was a career naval officer. He spent the beginning of the German War at sea with HMS Prince of Wales and was onboard for the engagement with the Bismarck, during which the Hood was sunk. Transferred to shore duties before the battleship went to her doom in the Far East, Miles Dryden found himself on Malta during the difficult months of the siege.

He had trained as a civilian pilot, mainly to ferry family members between their estate in Cumbria and the main residence in London, but discovered a real love of flying.

His ability was harnessed and he found himself acting as an unofficial replacement pilot on three offensive missions run by 830 Squadron FAA, from their base at Hal Far, Malta. His 'illegal' status prevented him from receiving the kudos earned on a successful mission, raiding elements of the Italian Navy and their facilities at Augusta, Sicily.

In July 1944, Dryden was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and assigned to the Royal Navy Port Detachment at Murmansk, USSR.

Travelling onboard the RMS Scythia, part of the controversial Convoy JW61A, a repatriation mission for over 10,000 Soviet citizens, Dryden acted as an extra medical officer and was shocked at the debilitated state of the Russians, mainly ex-prisoners of war.

During the voyage and afterwards at Murmansk, Miles Dryden acquired sufficient knowledge of the Russian language to constantly badger and annoy the Soviet authorities, always searching for more medical supplies and facilities for his patients.

Along with the rest of the Port Detachment, Dryden was detained at the start of hostilities in August 1945.

He was moved from the temporary facility in Murmansk to Baranovichi in the former Polish territory.

In December 1945, after a succession of work camps, he finally came to rest in a special work facility outside of Kremlyov, USSR.

At Kremlyov, shortly to be renamed Arzamas-75, prisoners of war and enemies of the Soviet state were engaged in building a new facility for the 'All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics', the VNIIEF, a facility that aimed to research, design and produce the Soviet Union?s nuclear weapons.

Lastanza, Giuseppe Antonio [Italian] - Major [Maggiore], OC 2nd Battalion, Folgore Infantry Regiment, Allied Italian Forces.

Born on 20th September 1909 in Pisa, Italy.

Lastanza was one of the few survivors of the Ravenna Division, immolated during the defeat at Stalingrad in late 1942.

He returned to his homeland but, with many others from the Russian Front, was kept out of the public view so that their awful physical condition was not seen.

Slow to recover, he did not serve again until late 1944, when he became part of the Folgore Group. Subsequently, he declined to return to Italy when the Italian Government declared its neutrality during the new war.

Giuseppe Lastanza was taken prisoner during the Battle of Arnoldstein on 28th/29th Novermber 1945. He is believed to have perished during the notorious forced march through the Alps, between the dates of 30th November and 3rd December 1945, along with over three hundred other prisoners taken at the same time.

He has no known grave.

Haefali, Albrecht Gabriel ? Major [Commandant], OC 3rd Compagnie, 3rd Btn,  13th DBLE [renamed 1st Brigade], 1st Free French Division* subsequently promoted to Colonel and made OC Legion Infanterie Group.

Born on 19th August 1910 in Interlaken, Switzerland. Joined French Army in 1934, serving as an Aspirant then Sous-Lieutenant with 1st Regiment Etrangere Infanterie* in Algeria. Transferred to the mainland France as a Lieutenant with 11th Regiment Etrangere Infanterie, 6th Infantry Division* he saw no action before escaping to England in 1940.

One of the original officers of the 13th Demi-Brigade, Légion Étrangère*, he took part in the ill-fated Norwegian Campaign before transferring with 13th DBLE to North Africa. Fought with the 13th and subsequently the 1st Free French Division through Italy, France, and Germany.

Final position was as Commander of 3rd Compagnie in the rank of Captaine. However, because of an error within 1st French Army administrative, his temporary promotion to command of 3rd Battalion whilst St Clair was detached elsewhere, was made permanent. Typical French pragmatism ensured that he remained at the rank and St Clair was promoted elsewhere to maintain a balance in ranks.

His actions during the relief of the Chateau du Haut-K?nigsbourg earned him the Croix de Guerre.

However, his insistence in pursuing the Goumier?s commander earned him much criticism from his peer group, and in particular, staff, and senior officers within the 1st French Army.

The 1st French Division was brutalised during the Soviet offensive in Southern Germany and, despite 3rd Battalion?s excellent record, Haefali was made a scapegoat and removed from his position.

Subsequently, he was transferred to command the Motor pool and supply echelon of the French 2nd Corps.

As the Legion Corps became larger, absorbing more units, Haefali was transferred to command the 2nd and 3rd Btns, Legion Etrangere, receiving promotion to full Colonel, sponsored by those who appreciated his worth.

In November 1945 he was temporarily assigned to ?Deux? to participate in an operation being run in one of the POW camps now springing up for Soviet prisoners.

He returned to the Legion Corps shortly afterwards.

Köster, Rudi - Sergeant [Sergent], 1st Kompagnie, 5th Legion Regiment du Chars Spéciale, 3rd Legion Division ?Alma?, Legion Corps D?Assault.

Born on 18th December 1921 in Passau, Germany.

Joined the SS-Totenkopfverbände in 1939, training and subsequently serving at Dachau. Transferring into the Waffen-SS within the Totenkopf Division, Köster served within the Kradschutzen Abteilung, fighting all the way to Demyansk and Leningrad.

The 3rd SS suffered greatly in the battles, with 4 in 5 men dead, wounded or missing.

Withdrawn to France to refit, the 3rd SS was redesignated a Panzer Grenadiere division and Köster had his first brush with tanks.

During the brilliant success at Kharkov, Köster served with distinction and was selected to transfer into the newly formed 9th Kompany, a Tiger I unit.

He was then committed to action at Kursk where he was credited with thirty-two kills during fierce fighting on the Psel River, for which he was awarded the Iron Cross first class.

As a Tiger II commander, he earned the German Cross in silver for his excellence during difficult days in and around Arnswalde in Pomerania as a member of the 103rd SS Schwere Panzer Abteilung. He was wounded when his King Tiger was knocked out and, evacuated to Germany, missed the immolation of his unit.

The award of the Croix-de-Guerre was made for his bravery and skill during the Battle at Barr, Alsace, as commander of ?Lohengrin?.

Replacing his wounded loader, Köster served the main gun when Knocke took over the vehicle during the intense battle at Brumath on 4th December 1945.

Yamashio, Toshiro ? Major [Rikugun-Sh?sa] ? OC 1st Tank Battalion, 3rd Special Obligation Brigade ?Rainbow?, 63rd Army.

Born on 19th February 1916 in Tomakomai, Japan.

He commanded the forces that routed an American/Chinese tank assault near Guiping, China, on 13th August 1945.

Yamashio died of a snake bite on 19th November 1945.

Burastov, Nikanor Davidovich - 1st Lieutenant [Starshy Leytenant], 1st Company, 3rd Battalion, 424th Rifle Regiment, 18th Rifle Division, 132nd Rifle Corps.

Born on 5th July 1922 in Stepnogorsk, USSR.

Burastov joined the 424th Regiment in 1944 and immediately gained a reputation for fearlessness and being a firebrand. He emerged from the German War without a scratch, his reputation as a fighting officer second to none.

He escaped the immolation of the 132nd Rifle Corps during Operation Thermopylae along with most of his company.

The savaged 424th Rifle Regiment was brought up to strength with new recruits and placed in the line in a quiet location, temporarily attached to the 3rd Guards Cavalry Corps whilst the staff of the 3rd Red Banner Front of Soviet Europe worked on reconstructing some new forces from the remnants of the 19th Army.

The 424th was destroyed during opening phases of Spectrum-Black.

Burastov was wounded and captured during the fighting at Hattmatt on 2nd December 1945.

He made a bid for freedom on 5th December 1945 and disappeared.

In 2007, woodsmen working next to the Chateau Hunebourg, near Dossenheim-sur-Zinsel, discovered human remains that have subsequently been confirmed as those of Burastov.

Given the extremely low temperatures at the time of his escape, combined with the severity of his injuries, it would seem reasonable to assume that he succumbed to his wounds or froze to death on the night of 2nd/3rd December 1945.

Hetherington, Oswald Baines - Major, 2IC, 18th Armored Infantry Battalion, 16th US Armored Brigade.

Born on 12th November 1906 in Billings, Montana, USA.

Hetherington served solely with the 16th Armored from its inception through to December 1945.

On the death of the Battalion Commander, he took charge of the 18th for the fighting around Hattmatt on the 2nd December 1945 where he suffered a psychiatric breakdown.

He never served again and was invalided stateside in June 1946.

His life was blighted by illness, both physical and mental.

On 7th May 2000, Oswald B Hetherington self-administered a lethal medication in line with Oregon State Legislation ORS 127.800-995,  The Death with Dignity Act.

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